"Flashback Friday": Trump raises ante on Hillary attacks on "racism" with 2008 campaign reminders

A day after Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump for “pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones,” the Republican nominee has struck back — largely with Hillary’s own words. A new video on Trump’s Instagram pulls together some lowlights from the 2008 campaign that prompted criticism of Team Hillary’s alleged racist undertones at the time. Team Trump is calling this “Flashback Friday.”

Trump doesn’t limit the flashback to 2008, either:

#CrookedHillary has bad judgement. She is not fit to be #President! #USA #HillaryClinton #FlashbackFriday

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Politico picked up on the release this morning, and notes that Trump isn’t backing down after a predictable and hoary Democratic line of attack:

Hillary Clinton’s eight-year-old comments during a raw and contentious primary with Barack Obama are providing even more fodder for Donald Trump and his campaign, doubling down on charges of racism and bigotry against the Democratic nominee that Trump has leveled this week on the trail.

A video posted to the campaign’s Instagram account early Friday begins with the ubiquitous “Crooked Hillary” name over footage of then-Sen. Clinton sitting down with NBC’s Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” in January 2008, who reads the candidate the headline of a South Carolina newspaper: “Clinton Camp Hits Obama: Attacks ‘painful for black voters,'” with the sub-headline “Many in state offended by criticism of Obama and remarks about Martin Luther King.” …

Months later, Clinton told USA Today that she had a larger coalition than Obama, citing an Associated Press article that she said “found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening…”

The video featured a snippet of those remarks as well, before addressing Bill Clinton’s controversial comments about Obama during the 2008 primary, particularly what the former president was reported to have said about the would-be president in the book “Game Change.”

“A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” Bill Clinton was said to have told Ted Kennedy, recounting that the remark offended the liberal Massachusetts senator. Trump directly invoked the line during his speech Thursday in New Hampshire.

Clearly, the Trump campaign prepared themselves for this attack. That may be in part because they recognized the potential problem of their alt-right support, or perhaps just because it’s the most telegraphed punch in the Democratic repertoire. Every Democratic presidential campaign eventually accuses the Republican nominee of racism, regardless of whether they have a shred of evidence for it or not — although Trump’s earlier comments about Mexicans certainly provided a wider opening than earlier campaigns.

With all of this material handy, why didn’t Hillary hand the he’s a raaaaaacist attack off to someone else? Maybe her campaign underestimated the rapid-response capability of Team Trump, or maybe the attack was so de rigueur that they didn’t bother to game it out. Having a surrogate deliver that punch would have made much more sense, given the easy pickings from 2008 for a rebuttal.

This video gives the first real demonstration of Team Trump’s war-room skills, and it’s impressive.  It may only make a difference among the already-converted if it just stays on Instagram. Team Hillary has TV ad campaigns running in several states with almost nothing but Trump’s own words interposed with children staring at the screen. Why not put this together as a similar ad and play it in places like Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Atlanta? Otherwise, this will get buried in the media by handwringing over Trump’s earlier rhetoric.

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